Recommendations from PA Schools Council (PASC)

Update on COVID-19 Change to required hours of clinical practice – October 2020

On 24 March 2020 the Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA) and PASC recommended that Higher Education Institutions educating Physician Associates in the UK accept no fewer than 1400 hours clinical practice and that there would be some flexibility in clinical areas in which this could be achieved. A further recommendation, in view of the continuing impact of COVID-19, was agreed in June 2020 with ‘an interim measure’ for Year 2 students to allow 10% of these hours to be provided by alternative methods such as simulation, while maintaining a minimum of 1260 clinical practice hours.

This was to be reviewed in Autumn 2020 to see “if the adjustment needs to be applied to Year 1 students”. Many of these Year 1 students have now entered their 2nd year of study and there is considerable concern from Programme Leads of the continuing impact on the provision of clinical placements through the next 12 months.

Following this review, there was recognition and consensus by the PASC and FPA, that the measures agreed in June 2020 for PA students should continue for the next 12 months. GMC regulation is currently still on track for Autumn 2021, by which time requirements for programme outcomes will have been reviewed as will the pre-requisites for eligibility to take the PA National Examination.